"So many lives are conceivable and yet we only have the one."

acqua alta is a cinematic essay that deals with life, survival, and passing away.

In acqua alta two aesthetic worlds meet:  a documentary and sober look is contrasted by visual elements that stem from the sfumato painting technique.


Venice in February. I stroll through the alleys and look at my life. Five people cross my path and let me look at theirs.The draftsman, the gilder, the weaver, the street artist, the culture manager and me –

by chance we are in the same town at the same time. We meet, talk about life and move on again.


The themes discussed in these encounters are banal and substantial at the same time, personal and impersonal as well:  acqua alta directs its focus on unspectacular moments; they are what define life in the end and make us what we are.

In acqua alta threads of our stories are linked to a atmospheric snapshot that mirrors the limitation of our time.



The special aspect of acqua alta is its aesthetic structure: the conventionally filmed portraits are linked to picturesque pinhole camera film sequences. These mystical image worlds combine the documentary episodes with the narrator's story. As an observer of the kaleidoscope, he reflects on the passage of his own time.


*The term "sfumato" (hazy, smoky) refers to a painting technique used by Leonardo da Vinci. In Venice, the term is also used when the city is blurred in the haze during certain weather conditions.